On being a control freak, spew, and Christmas

This post is not about spew.


Deep down, I am a control freak, and controlling Christmas is like my favourite thing ever. Buying the presents, making chocolates, baking, gingerbread houses, trips to see the lights…. I live for that stuff.

And then I got pregnant, and started to feel the full effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarium. (I feel like I should write a blog post on how awful this condition can be, but I don't know if I should afflict the world with that… it's ugly, G. You spew because you're hungry, you spew because you're full, you spew because you imagined a smell you don't like, you spew because you walked past the toilet and it reminded you that that's where you normally spew……. does anyone get queasy at the word spew? WELL GOOD. Not that I'm bitter or anything.)
To be honest, I have learnt a lot through these last 3 months of spews hyperemesis.
Other than things about spew (although they are fascinating and everything).

Mainly, that I'm not in control. 
Of anything.
Would I love to be able to nip out to the mall on a whim and max out a credit card on useless, tacky Christmas crap? Of course I would. 
And would it be the highlight of my year to make chocolate truffles and shortbread and gingerbread houses decorated with tiny silver balls and jelly tots? And invite people over for Christmas cocktails with weird and wonderful novelty recipes and mini-candycanes in all the drinks? And give sweetly packaged gifts to all my friends with glittery cards filled with my own stunning calligraphy? Like, duh. Although, dreaming about the calligraphy part. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Here's the reality: bed rests, toilets, empty ice-cream containers, and a chronic fear of being in a supermarket, mall, driving on the motorway, or at somebody else's house. You know, because spewing on your own carpet is fine, but spewing on someone else's… I don't know… I just wouldn't feel right about it….

Add to that, fear of kitchens, fear of food smells, fear of basically every food that this foodie girl used to LOVE and now can't tolerate the sight of. (Not that I'm meaning to complain. I just can't WAIT to enjoy food again instead of dreading mealtimes. I swear the moment that baby is born I'm ordering a large helping of butter chicken with spinach-and-cheese naan and I'm going to drink it, not eat it, because that's how bad I will have missed sweet westernised Indian takeaways.)

What is my point in this post.
Oh yes.
I can't control jack. The biggest thing for me in these 18 weeks of pregnancy has been learning to take not one day at a time, but one HOUR at a time. If you call me at 10am and ask if I can meet up at midday… I won't know. I just have to be grateful for each moment of wellness as it comes. 
And when I hit a bad patch where the medication is not even working and I relapse back into the spewed-in-my-own-bed zone… I have to graciously allow myself to just lie down all day long and try not to feel guilty that I can't do ANYTHING and that my husband is doing ALL THE THINGS by himself. And I have learnt to just blatantly ask for things. I have been known to text my brother and ask him to go and buy a certain food and bring it to me. Thanks Rob. I may have spewed that Filet of Fish back up, but I enjoyed it momentarily. 
There is no shame here.

What I'm saying is, Christmas is different this year. I think maybe it's even more of a true Christmas because I'm learning to let go of my elf-like ways and just allow Christmas to happen around me. No-one is going to die if I don't make chocolates (debatably). And I am considerably less anxious or stressed about anything at all, which seems crazy considering I technically have more to be anxious about.

So, whilst the picture at the start of this post looks idyllic ("sunbathing on the lawn with Christmas treats") the truth is that that pink biscuit was the only food I could consume at the time. I couldn't even do the candy cane. And I was lying down only because I physically couldn't sit up. And there were no smells outside, which is why I was there. A tan is the least of my concerns, yo.

But did I enjoy it and was it a special moment lying out there on the ground under the trees feel the breeze and being grateful to not be spewing at the time? Yes. It was amazing.

P.S I lied - this post was totally about spew.

The new digs - a.k.a: HOME

You may have seen on Instagram or elsewhere that we recently moved house and said goodbye to 'The Nest' - our cute little townhouse/apartment that we loved so well and improved so much (lots of it is here).

It was time for a change and although we didn't know it when we bought this house, I was already pregnant and we will need the extra space more than we thought.

The last place was the Nest, but this place is home. It has such a light and open welcoming feel, and even tho it looks extremely 70's in photos, the truth is that we're not in a huge rush to make changes - in person it just feels nice.

The picture above is from our move-in day. My husband was up there waving and looking pleased as punch with his new purchase. Talk about house-proud! :)

  The main room (above) is exceptionally sunny and open - to the right of this photo are big glass doors that open onto a deck with a great view, below:

Ok, admittedly I haven't captured much of the view in the photo, but if you stand on the deck you can even see a wee bit of ocean :)

At some point we'd like to replace the carpet with something less.... green. But first our main mission is to get more appropriate furniture - we are dreaming about the luxury of having TWO couches, both long enough the stretch out on. It seems so indulgent after living with only one couch that also served as a dining area for so long.

We're ready to say goodbye to the white couch - the feather filling always needs to be reshaped, and white isn't going to be great with a baby.

See the brown vinyl on the floor in the dining room above?
 Oh so 70's.
Ultimately it has to go, but again, we're not in a rush. For now we are just relishing the fact that we have a dining room.
My amazing hubs renovated this old, old, old dining table with his mate and now it looks like brand new. We love it! Also the dining chairs were purchased second-hand as an upholstery project, for some day...

 This is the realtors photo of the kitchen, which we haven't changed. More of that delicious brown vinyl... topped of with some wood veneer cupboards. mm-mm!

Next up... an obvious improvement for our bedroom would be: adding a bed.

I actually love the silvery-blue wall colour tho I might not have chosen it for myself. I envision this room becoming a bit of a calm oasis - I want to add long curtains (probably white and floaty) and white blinds to the window over the bed. Not to mention change the light fixture and get appropriate furniture, etc.

Oh, check it out, more brown vinyl!
A new bathroom will probably be high on the priority list. Not just for looks - it's all kinds of unfunctional for us tall people.

Out the back of the house is some lovely land - perfect for outdoor seating, BBQs, exploring.... and so on. We love it.

I need to get a better photo of this.

Downstairs we have a guest room that currently looks like this:

It has an en-suite  with delightfully quirky mustard 70's flooring once more. I secretly like it. Don't tell.

There is also a small room that will be the baby's room eventually - but it's currently full of junk and unpacked boxes so I'll show you that later.
Also the office which is much the same.

So that's the house! Lots of potential projects to work on but plenty of time to do them.

In other news, I finally bought a white Christmas tree after wanting one for ages. I like how it makes it feel like Christmas without imparting a wintery vibe like most dark trees. I guess I just love the fact that it's finally Summer here in New Zealand, and I love how light and bright our living room is so I wanted to carry on the light+bright theme, this year anyway.

Thanks for coming on this little tour through our new home... I'm praying for more well days so I can continue making it into a home for us. Who knows, one day I may be well enough to start tackling the baby's room!


Before I start, thanks for your congratulations on my shop/business announcement last week!
My blog-friend Michaela from Michaella Noelle Designs featured it on her holiday Gift Guide this week too, because she is awesome. Check it out here :)


Here's another wee announcement that is changing things up bigtime around here....

I'm preggers!

Scary? Hmm yes a bit.
Sick? VERY.
Happy? yep!
Terrified of giving birth in 6 months time? Let's not talk about that.


I have hyperemesis gravidarium and at times the never-ending sickness is kinda traumatising. And yes, this is what I've been sick with for the last few months, that very nearly was the end of this blog because suddenly doing anything except vomiting was not an option. Thank goodness for medication and answered prayers that have enabled me to have moments of normalcy and wellness, and I'm hopeful that it's slowly improving.

I imagined that being pregnant would be kinda cute and that I would be an INSANE nester and awesome nursery-designer. In honesty, nesting and nursery designing is something that will have to wait until I am well enough to enjoy them. At the moment my priority is to stay hydrated and rest.

At 13.5 weeks I don't have much to show for it apart from a stomach that looks like I ate a few too many pies, and I still feel like the same old me (albeit a very sick me).  It's surreal to think I'm actually growing a human, and that that tiny human is only 3 inches long right now, but already can pull faces and has fingerprints! And that it had a beating heart even when it was only the size of a raspberry. It's fascinating, actually, how developed the baby is within the first few weeks. Currently it has all it's organs, can taste food, use it's digestive system, move around, and hear sounds. Amazing.

BIRD Interiors: my new little business

A while back I was intent on opening an Interior Design business. There were a few holdups - 1) I was in a weird place of still doing Architectural contract work, and wasn't sure which direction to really pursue, and 2) I began to see that my vision was TOO big, for this particular point in my life. The business model I'd been imagining was so complex I was completely overwhelmed with where to start.

I'm not saying it's wrong to be super ambitious and have a big goal... but in my case the timing just wasn't right and I had to take a step back and reevaluate.

One of the things I always wanted to do on the side of my business was sell cushions. I personally believe there is a gap in the New Zealand market for good-quality, designer cushions made from pretty fabrics. Finding a good floral around here is like pulling hen's teeth. (Is that the saying....?).

Anyway, long story short, I decided to go ahead and open an online cushion shop. I buy the fabrics overseas and choose ones you'd almost certainly not be able to find here in NZ, then with the help of my mum we sew them into lovely, sturdy cushion covers with a neat border and hidden zip on the back. There are all 100% cotton or linen and are meant to last.

My friend Shalita designed this beautiful logo and we were away!

BIRD Interiors
For now, this business is simple. There is a simple website. A simple shop. 
I'm happy adding more design services over time, but at this point in my life, simple is just right.

Here's a taste of the first collection:

BIRD Interiors cushion covers - online shop

A Miracle

Last night I had my first 'real' public speaking engagement for a CWCI Interior Design event.

I have known about this for nearly 6 months but started freaking out when I became SO unwell this past 6 weeks. To get the full background, you need to read my last post now.

So, what happened?

Well, I was sick during the day. 
I had always thought that for an event like this I would get my hair and makeup done professionally and buy a new dress and shoes.... HAH! A couple of hours before I had to leave I was lying in bed looking vaguely around my room thinking... what should I wear? And at the last minute I thought, well, these trusty hot pink jeans have always inspired me....

I don't think I was exactly worried  or nervous necessarily. 
I know my God and I knew that somehow it would all work out, even tho there was no good reason why I should be able to get out of bed and stop throwing up for long enough to speak on stage.
I also knew a LOT of people were praying and had been praying for me. And I guess I was curious to see what the outcome of that would be.

"how to zhush a room in 15 minutes' interior design talk by Amy MacLeod 

Well, my friends.

Around 4.30pm (I had to leave at 5) I started to feel strangely well.
I did my hair and makeup for the first time in what feels like weeks.
I put my pink jeans on.
And somehow, I lasted from 5pm (rehearsal time) until 11pm (hometime) without any throwing up or nausea. Considering my nausea has been CONSTANT, that is a miracle in itself.

 I got to present my part of the show and it ran as smooth as clockwork!
We started with a completely bare/ugly "room" on stage, then I went through and ran the diagnosis.

"how to zhush a room in 15 minutes' interior design talk by Amy MacLeod 

As I spoke about what improvements should be made, my team of lovely helpers (Rochelle and Lizzy here)  physically added them to the room setup.

I went through 5 different cushion combinations to teach about how to mix patterns, which was a hit.
"how to zhush a room in 15 minutes' interior design talk by Amy MacLeod
{This is the thank you at the end. Just call me Gangly-arms-MacLeod}
   Here's my lovely mum who worked her butt off to make sure alll those cushions (there are piles out back) were sewn and stuffed. She was my seamstress.

Don't you love her pants?

"how to zhush a room in 15 minutes' interior design talk by Amy MacLeod

It's quite hard to get photos with stage lighting but you get the idea. We turned the room from a completely blank slate into this.

"how to zhush a room in 15 minutes' interior design talk by Amy MacLeod 
And then my tallll husband flung a chandelier casually over the back wall for our lighting. Someone later told me that was the highlight of the show, haha.

 "how to zhush a room in 15 minutes' interior design talk by Amy MacLeod

I had friends in the audience praying for me the entire time, and honestly it could not have gone better.

I am thankful for this opportunity. God is always faithful.

I have more announcements ahead this week.... several big things actually! Can you guess?